Since its recognition in 1981, the Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has been responsible for the deaths of at least 23,884 of its victims. The causative agent, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is transmitted primarily via blood and semen. The virus acts by depressing the body's immune system, thereby making it subject to attack from a multitude of opportunistic infections and Kaposi's sarcoma. Ocular and systemic infections result.
As primary health care professionals, optometrists' role in this battle against AIDS is one of detection, prevention and proper patient education. Recognizing the ocular manifestations of AIDS may facilitate the diagnosis. Early detection could mean more prompt treatment and a better prognosis for the AIDS patient.
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